Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies

by Daniel Valko

     The first day of winter just happened and we are a few days from Christmas. Winter is always a great time of year, mostly because it's the time to reflect on the year that passed and what you accomplished. This year was an amazing year for me because I started this blog and grown a lot as a person. Going into 2014 I didn't know what lay ahead, I guess going into a new year with no exceptions is what makes a great year. Setting goals and boundaries for yourself will only hold you back. If you focus too much on your goals i'll only hide your creativity and new ideas. So in the coming year I hope you take some time for yourself and do what you love and are passionate about. 
    This recipe for Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies came out of my love for Chocolate and Caramel candy. Whats not to love about this combination everything go's together perfectly. Over the last month this recipe has become my official Christmas cookie recipe, I hope it becomes yours to.


Ingredients : 

• 1 cup granulated sugar 
• 10 tbs unsalted butter, cold, cut in cubes  
• 1/2 cup whipping cream minus 2 tbs 

• 1 cup unsalted butter 
• 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
• 2 eggs 
• 2 tsp vanilla 
• 2 1/3 cups All Purpose flour 
• 2/3 cup unsweetened coco powder 
• 1 tsp baking soda 


• For each cookie : 1/8 tsp or less salt and a pretzel on top  


1. Caramel: Heat the cream until it just begins to steam and then set aside. Place the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and heat without stirring until sugar dissolves and gets a caramel color. 

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the hot cream. It will bubble a little bit. Cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until smooth.

3.  Remove from heat, and add butter. Stir well until smooth. Pour into a bowl and let it cool.

4.  In a mixer bowl beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Then add in the eggs and vanilla and mix together. 

5. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and coco powder. Then add it in 1/3 portions to the wet Ingredients. 

6. Then roll 1 1/4 inch dim. dough balls with a 1 tbs amount of Caramel in the center. Place them 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie pan and top with a pretzel and 1/8 tsp or less salt. Then flatten them halfway for more spread while baking. 

7.  Bake for 8-10 mins @ 350 F, let them cool for 8 minutes before storing or eating. 

Banana and Coconut Pancakes With a Chocolate Caramel Sauce

by Daniel Valko




      Everyone has their own way of eating pancakes the right way. For me its always lots of butter and syrup. But this time I'm doing something different by making banana and coconut pancakes with a chocolate caramel sauce. Even though I'm more of a waffle person, I eat pancakes more often. I don't know why that is? Maybe because the waffle iron is a mess to clean up. Or because every Saturday morning I wake up to the smell of my mom making pancakes....and so then all I need to do is enjoy them. Not go threw that hassle of making waffles early Saturday morning
   This recipe for pancakes started out with a gluten free recipe that I learned in my culinary class which was Bananas and eggs. But later when I was trying it at home I added flour to give it more form...which made it not gluten free. Then I added some shredded coconut and coconut oil for a more complex coconut flavor. As Always I hope you enjoy this recipe and ready to cook up some amazing pancakes!

Ingredients : 

Pancakes :

• 2 Eggs 
• 2 Bananas 
• 3/4 Cup milk 
• 3/4 Cups all purpose flour 
• 1/2 Cup shredded coconut 
• 3 tbs Coconut oil 
• 2 tsp Granulated sugar 
• 1/2 tsp Baking soda 
• Dash of salt 

Chocolate Caramel Sauce : 

• 1/2 Cup granulated sugar 
• 3/4 Cup milk 
• 4 tsp Unsweetened coco powder 
• 3/4 Cup powdered sugar 
• 4 tbs Butter 
• 1 tsp Vanilla 
• dash of salt 

1  Sauce: In a medium sized pot, heat the the granulated sugar on high heat. In a other pot heat the milk until hot and steaming ( not boiling ) Don't mix the sugar until it starts bubbling and is almost melted with steam rising. 

2  When all the sugar is melted take the pot off the heat and pour the warm milk into it. It will steam and bubble, start mixing it with your wooden spoon Until  incorporated. Then add the coco powder and butter, mix with a whisk for about 30 secs. Next add the powdered sugar and let It simmer for about 2 mins. Don't over do it or your sauce will be to thick. Then add in vanilla and salt, whisk it together well. If your sauce turned out to thick just add in some more milk.  Let it cool or serve warm, Make the sauce before the pancakes.

3  Pancakes: Cut bananas into slices and in a mixer bowl whip them up using the paddle attachment. change the attachment to a whisk and beat the eggs in. 

4  Next add in the flour, baking soda,coconut, coconut oil, sugar and salt. Whisk together well.

 5   Then pour out pancake shapes on a skillet or griddle, heated on medium with a tsp of butter and another of coconut oil. Cook for about 2 mins on both sides, until dark gold/brown. Enjoy!

Double Layered Brownies

by Daniel Valko

   First a layer of a buttery baked goodness, then a delicious chocolaty top with chunks of chocolate. This is why this brownie recipe is a favorite of mine, plus it doesn't taste like a traditional brownie because of its double layers. This adds a unique twist to the well known and basic brownie recipe and is well worth a try. 
Feel free to give me some feed back on this recipe and how it turned out for you :)


First Layer:
-1 cup flour
-1/4 cup granulated sugar 
-1/2 cup butter

Second Layer:
-1  14 ounce can condensed milk 
-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
-1/2 cup flour
-1 egg
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1  7 ounce bar milk chocolate broken into small chunks or chocolate chips 

(Preheat oven to 350 f)

1  In a medium sized bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and cut in 1/2 cup butter.

2  Mix together until it becomes soft like a dough (you may need to use your hands) then press it into the bottom of a 9 by 9 or 13 by 9 aluminium or parchment paper wrapped pan. Bake the first layer for 15 minutes.

3  Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl add the condensed milk, cocoa, flour, vanilla, oil,
baking powder, and a egg.

4  Whisk them together and add the chocolate, then pour out the batter onto the first layer.

5  Bake for 25 more minutes, let them cool completely before cutting and serving.